Health & Fitness

Managing morning mayhem with your kids: Or how to save your sanity

To keep mornings on schedule, try taping a visual plan to your child’s bathroom mirror (or wall near their bed) so they understand their “chores,” so to speak, such as going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, getting dressed. Once kids know what’s expected, the stress level goes way down.
To keep mornings on schedule, try taping a visual plan to your child’s bathroom mirror (or wall near their bed) so they understand their “chores,” so to speak, such as going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, getting dressed. Once kids know what’s expected, the stress level goes way down. Getty Images

Mornings are tough. And that’s before you add in kids, coffee, and trying to get out the door.

Often, it’s that 6 to 8 a.m. window when the most mayhem (and often, tantrums) happen. So how do you better deal with these daily shenanigans and get everyone up and out?

Here are some tips for managing morning mayhem:

Move Things Along

Young children have no sense of time so they don’t feel the same sense of urgency to get out the door as you do.

To keep mornings on schedule, try taping a visual plan to your child’s bathroom mirror (or wall near their bed) so they understand their “chores,” so to speak, such as going to the bathroom, brushing teeth, getting dressed.

Once kids know what’s expected, the stress level goes way down. Plus, if they get distracted, you can look at the plan together and get back on track.

Get your child engaged by having them illustrate or photograph each activity and make their own chart. Older children can set their own alarms.

Another tactic: Start mornings with a bell or a favorite song to get everyone up and moving.

Budget Extra Time

Knowing that mornings are tough and your kids may procrastinate, budget in an extra 15 minutes for something your child may want or need to do such as cuddling, reading or playing with the dog.

Of course, that means getting up earlier, which is easier if you ensure a consistent bedtime the night before.

Organize

Set backpacks by the door, lunch boxes on the kitchen counter, and select clothes the night before.

Every day after school have kids clean out their lunch boxes. Then add water bottles, napkins, fruits and other no-spoil food (like crackers, pretzels) so that everything is set up for the next day.

Check Calendars

Anticipate the next day’s activities by referring to the family calendar the night before — another great resource to have posted somewhere everyone can see and add to it. That way everyone knows everyone’s schedules and there are no surprises.

Take Time for You

Kids respond to your mood and stress level, so get up before the rest of your family, have that cup of coffee and start the morning off on the right foot.

K. Lori Hanson, Ph.D., licensed psychologist and chief of research, evaluation and strategic planning at The Children’s Trust, has more than 20 years’ experience assessing critical data and community research regarding the needs of children and families. For more information, visit thechildrenstrust.org.
  Comments